Westchester Day School was proud to celebrate its 68th anniversary dinner last Saturday night at the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle. The dinner applauded the involvement and commitment of parents Daphna and David Brainson, Robin and Steven Fried and Deborah and Jay Weinberger, as well as faculty honoree Elena Katzeff. Westchester Day School parents, friends, alumni and current eighth graders were excited to have the opportunity to pay tribute to the dedication and hard work of these deserving honorees.
Rabbi Joshua Lookstein, Head of School, spoke about the need for Moshe Rabbeinu to set his modesty aside for the sake of being God’s ambassador to Pharaoh and the Jewish People. He quoted Rabbi Yehoshua Horowitz of Dzikov who said that the Torah may have been given on a low mountain but it was still a mountain, not a valley. “The uniting factor of this year’s parent honorees,” said Rabbi Lookstein, “is that they have intuited God’s message. They are modest about everything except WDS. For WDS, they are the ultimate ambassadors. That is the way they are known in their various communities, as ‘the biggest cheerleaders for the school.’” Josh Trump, President of WDS, noted the importance of coming together as a community to celebrate. He said, “This evening radiates an incredible feeling of warmth and camaraderie with people connecting with old friends, with new friends and with the faculty and administration who give so much of their waking hours to our kids. ... Creating a strong community school is sacred to our sustainability. Our honorees this evening all stand by that message and represent the best of what Westchester Day School has to offer.”
While the dinner is a highlight of the year and an opportunity to celebrate the rich tradition of excellence at Westchester Day School, this year in particular, the guests were reminded of the significance of King David’s statement, “Im lo a’aleh et Yerushalayim al rosh simchati,” the importance of putting Israel above our chiefest joys. As guests entered the ballroom for the program, video footage of greetings from WDS alumni currently studying and living in Israel played on monitors. The dinner also welcomed Rabbi Zvi Zeigler as a special guest. Rabbi Ziegler, who currently lives in Israel, dedicated 40 years of his life to Westchester Day School, first as a member of the Judaic Studies faculty and then as the Judaic Studies head. As Michael Nachmani, Chairman of WDS, said in his introduction of Rabbi Ziegler’s special address to the attendees, “Now more than ever is the moment to keep Jerusalem and all of Israel front and center at our dinner. It’s not an afterthought, a song, a picture on the wall, but rather our guidepost, a value infused in everything that we do. We remember those that have been lost, we pray for those who have been injured and we hope for a return to times of celebration, joy and peace.”